July 14th, 2002


Het knotsleuke moppenboek (02-017)

I was sitting in the tram in Amsterdam, visiting Norbert, a couple of days before he left the country. The tram filled up fast, I was lucky to have a seat. Several people were standing already, though some people still occupied a double seat on their own. Situations like this piss me off. As everyone else, I'd prefer to have some space, if possible. However, if there weren't enough seats, I wouldn't consider keeping two seats occupied. As the isle filled as well, a fairly old man ended standing up near me. I looked around for some of the selfish bastards to empty a chair, or for a parent to take a small child on their lap, nobody seemed to bother. So I got up and offered the old man my seat. He was grateful and sat down. I thought nothing of it, call me old fashioned, but I think it is normal to give up a seat for people who need it more than I do.

Apparently, he was surprised by the gesture, because a minute later he looks up and wants to give me a little book. I refused, that would be too much honour for a small thing. He insisted though: "I have finished it and have got the next one to read anyway", he showed me the other book. So, reluctantly, I accepted. I didn't want to offend him. It was a little joke book, sold in so-called white book shops, a chain that sells left over books and second rate books for a small price. As I still had quite a few minutes to go, I started reading it, standing in the tram. As these things go, the book hardly had any jokes in it that even raised the faintest idea of a smile. Later, while visiting Norbert, I tried to find a funny one in the book, it gave us many troubles. So, just to show you how crap it is, one joke translated:

Frits, a good-looking young man, has a little flu. At night, he gets a sore throat, so he gets up and rings at the doctor's door. His young wife opens the door. "Is the doctor at home?", asks Frits hoarse. "No", she whispers back, "come inside quickly."

I told you it was crap. This was one of the best ones even. However, the story how I got the book made it worth reading it. There are still plenty of nice people in this world.